By: Kobe Lambeth
It is hard to believe that it has been over twenty years since Jeffery Michael Gordon began his NASCAR career. I have only been alive for sixteen years, but I realise the impact that Jeff Gordon has had on the entire motorsports community. It was eight years ago, I remember the 2007 Daytona 500 like it was yesterday. This was the very first NASCAR race that I watched. Instantly, Jimmie Johnson became my favorite driver and Hendrick Motorsports has been my team ever since that magical day. However, I did not like this dude named Jeff Gordon. He always came in the way of the 48’s domination. Once called “wonder boy” by the Intimidator, Gordon faced lots of adversity early in his career. Everyone loved Dale Earnhardt Sr. as he was respected on and off the track. On the other hand, Jeff Gordon was heavily booed as he was the new kid on the block.
When Dale Earnhardt Sr, was in the prime of his career, a young man named Jeff Gordon raced onto the track. It took a long time for him to earned the respect that he deserved. Gordon was able to win multiple championships and become one of the best drivers of all-time. I admit, I did not respect Gordon five years ago, but I have learned how special he is for NASCAR on and off the track. My dislike for Gordon started a few years ago when he started a little conflict with Jimmie Johnson one year at Martinsville. The situation escalated at Texas when the two historic Hendrick drivers did not give one another “space” on the race track. I thought to myself, “What a jerk Jeff Gordon is! Wow, that is one dirty racer.” However, I was able to love Jeff as I learned how inspirational he was. Many people try to compare youngster Kyle Larson to Gordon, but nobody is comparable to him. On lap 267 at Homestead-Miami a few weeks ago, I almost cried my eyes out. Hard to believe that a historic career came to an end just like that. Jeff Gordon may not be on the track anymore, but his impact on the motorsports will last forever. The next chapter of his career in the booth is going to be exciting for NASCAR fans. We get to see “wonder boy” continue succeeding at his highest level. If I could say something to Jeff Gordon, it would be “Thank you for everything you have done for NASCAR and motorsports worldwide. You will be greatly missed but not forgotten. There will never be another legend from Pittsboro, Indiana named Jeffery Michael Gordon.”